What does reimagining a ladder have to do with medical innovation?

The world’s leading companies are always on the lookout for what’s next. It’s one of the biggest shifts in product development—from designing solutions for what’s happening now to creating the future and the products that will be needed when we get there.

At Force-4, our comprehensive innovation model ensures the teams develop insights-driven innovation with the future in mind. Recently, we reimagined the A-frame ladder after reading about the number of people injured and killed in accidents related to the traditional ladder. It seemed that while there was significant data on the injuries, there was less available on how to prevent them beyond basic instructions.

The Force-4 team used observation and user insights to rethink data collection. They then applied knowledge of the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors that could gather real-time usage data while the ladders were in normal work environments. Knowing people change their behaviors when in laboratories or when they know they’re being watched, the Force-4 solutions enabled data collection and management as people used the ladders as they normally would.

“Collecting real-time data and in normal use is important in every field,” says Jason Phillips, Force-4 Group Creative Director. “In this case it was ladders. But we use the same approach for assignments in medical devices, consumer goods, and business solutions.”

Phillips continues, “For example, when working devices for surgeons we want to understand what they struggle with in the surgical suite today and how we can help overcome things like fatigue, intuitive use, and touch-sensitive sensing. Those things affect surgeons and they also affect patient outcomes. So anything we can do to help improve the surgeon’s experience can and does positively affect the patients.”

Force-4 is focused on envisioning the future, regardless of the category or industry. Adds Mike Johnson, Principal at Force-4 parent company Stress Engineering Services, “Our process allows us to identify issues, collect user data and extrapolate insights, develop solutions that leverage IoT, sensor development, data analysis and more, and design for manufacturing success—regardless of the industry.”

Johnson adds, “We want to help our clients change the now while seeing into the future, to what’s next, and innovate for what’s coming.”

So while the team has applied the process to ladders and found success in the marketplace, the same ideas are being used to help companies reach into the future and develop innovative ideas and solutions that will have a competitive edge in years to come.

For more information, contact Force-4 at contactus@force-four.com, or call us toll-free at 833-4FORCE4.

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